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What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

istock 937240316 Conditions like chronic venous insufficiency are not well-known. We don’t see this condition. What we see are its effects, varicose veins, discoloration, and other vein problems. Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the veins fail to adequately circulate blood from the limbs back to the heart. Usually, the insufficiency affects the legs because it is from the lower extremities that the body must work the hardest to push blood upward against gravity. Normally, blood is forced upward and prevented from stagnating by valves located along the veins. The valves can weaken, letting some blood pool. Here, we discuss what may contribute to poorly functioning veins and what may be done to address chronic venous insufficiency

What Causes Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

There are several factors that may contribute to chronic venous insufficiency. Often, it is a blood clot deep in the leg. This is referred to as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. Additional factors that could cause the condition include:

  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Sedentary lifestyle or sitting too long too often
  • Prolonged standing without breaks to rest the legs
  • Obesity
  • Injury to a limb
  • Age (older adults have a higher risk)

Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency

When chronic venous insufficiency develops, there are few clues. A person may notice slight itching of the legs or darkened skin, but these are easily dismissed. Symptoms that warrant a visit with a vascular specialist include:

  • Varicose veins
  • Darkened skin on the lower legs
  • Leg pain when walking or at rest
  • A tight sensation in the calves
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Leg cramps or aching
  • Swelling of the lower leg or ankle
  • Skin ulcers on the leg

Seeking Treatment for Chronic Venous Insufficiency

According to the Society for Vascular Medicine, only about 10% of people experiencing the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency seek treatment. It has been estimated that 40% of the population suffers from this condition. The best time to seek treatment is when the signs appear. There is no value in waiting for symptoms to become severe. Early treatment for this condition could prevent unnecessary stress and pain. Treatment options include:

  • Compression stockings
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Laser therapy
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy

If your legs are showing signs of chronic venous insufficiency, contact us at (855) 803-MIVC (6482) to schedule an appointment. Early, conservative care is our specialty.

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